Photo: Lucrecia Taormina
If there is one thing that can be said of Ashnikko with absolute certainty, it is that she never fails to entertain. Originally catapulting into the limelight with the TikTok-assisted viral hit "STUPID," the North Carolina-bred rapper and artist introduced herself as an aggressive tour de force, balancing a boss bitch attitude with an infectious self-deprecating wit. Yet, it is her latest single that sees Ashnikko pulling off her largest and most daring departure to date.
"Cry" features none other than Grimes, an artist who has similarly strayed the creative fringe, existing simultaneously as an otherworldly being and pop savant. The unexpected collaboration results in a larger-than-life display of vulnerability and reckless abandon.
Opening on a series of disjointed heavy metal guitar riffs before eventually finding its way into a rapturous Art Angels - esque beat, "Cry" leverages its avant-garde stars to their fullest. There are equal parts sorrow and fury to be found in Ashnikko's spitfire flow, which when backed by the sporadic swells of production gives her targeted wrath a world-ending fervor.
All the while, Grimes' Steinbeck-referencing, wraith-like whisper feels akin to stumbling into a séance. "This is the winter of my discontent" repeats the pop icon, lulling the listener further and further into a trancelike state, only to have Ashnikko further erupt and dispel any passing semblance of peace.
The inherent juxtaposition between Grimes' ethereal lull and Ashnikko's brash delivery results in an exhilarating breakup track that finds an unshakeable power in the ominous chemistry between its two stars. Altogether, "Cry" is equal parts banger and genre-pushing pop-rap hybrid.
In addition to the new single, Grimes and Ashnikko have unveiled an accompanying anime style music video directed by Mike Anderson that features photo-real CGI.
Listen to "Cry" below: